Monday, December 05, 2011

If I Could

I think the conversation began after a hot lunch I served at school. My friend "Twila" showed up to volunteer in the classroom, but first she helped me serve the food.

"If I could, I would start a coffee shop in Harrisburg," she said. She had it all down--the baked goods, the decor, the clientele.

All she needed was the time, the money, and a few other small details.

I've found that most of us go around with an "If I could" idea in our heads.

Emily has a similar idea for a shop in Harrisburg. She even has the place picked out, an old empty brick building with an arched front, a little courtyard behind a fence, and a tiny attached house. She calls it "Whispering Winds" and went so far as to have a real estate agent give her a tour of the place.

She's a bit vague about what services or products she would actually offer there. Also, she lacks a few small details like time, money, and being able to be in two places at once, since she wants to go on the mission field after college.

I told Twila that I also have an "If I could" for a business in Harrisburg, and that is a fabric/paper/tea shop. In addition to the normal quilting cottons I'd have a stash of fabrics that a person would actually wear. I'd have a comfy chair and coffee and Outdoor Life magazines for waiting husbands. And in the back I'd have a room for my Fabric Exchange, where you could bring in fabric from your stash and get so many points based on yardage and quality, and then you could pick out what you wanted, for similar pointage, from the stash that others had contributed. I wouldn't get anything out of it but I think it would be fun.

Also, with Emily working at Grocery Depot, I've been thinking that there just has to be a whole hidden industry out there of damaged and outdated fabric just like there is for bent-n-dent lotions and canned vegetables. How do I tap into that delightful river, I wonder?

I haven't thought out the paper and tea part as well, especially since I don't see myself baking scones and other dainties to sell. Maybe I'd just brew a pot of tea and sit down with customers and let them sip free tea while we talk.

All that stands in my way is . . . everything.

Someday when Emily is out of college and Twila's and my children are all grown up and I figure out how to be organized, we'll all have to collaborate on the Perfect Business in Harrisburg.

I have an even bigger "if I could" and that is a house at the coast. It would be on the west side of Highway 101 so you could take children to the beach without crossing that busy road. It would have lots of space for big families or groups. Our family could go out for brief retreats from real life, Paul and I could go there for time alone, and Emily and I could go there for a week at a time to work on our novels. We could use it for Bible Memory Camp, Ladies' Retreat, and the annual Youth Coast Trip. We could rent it out for a reasonable price to Mennonite families who always have a hard time finding a place both large and affordable and who could be counted on to clean up after themselves. Most of all, I could offer it free to missionaries on furlough who desperately need rest but could never afford to rent a place.

All that stands in my way is a million unsold books and free weekends to drive out and keep the place up.

Meanwhile, I wonder, what is the "If I could" floating around in everyone else's head?

Quote of the Day:
Jenny: [sitting on her bed one night, solemnly pronouncing] You know, I'm not that interested in bugs any more.
Jenny: I'm not gonna be an entomologist.
Me: You're not?
Jenny: [suddenly noticing picture of butterfly on her pillowcase] Oh my goodness!! It's a swallowtail! An eastern tiger swallowtail!!!


  1. I have some!!

    A kite store at the beach called Flights O' Fancy.

    A bridal shop with everything a bride could possibly need...including a whole section of somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue. Oh, and a walk-in-closet full of things a groom might need. A Groom Closet, so to speak!

    Oh, and if I could cut hair, I'd open a barbershop called Delilah's.

    A friend of mine thought about opening a coffee shop and calling it The Witch's Brew. Hmmmm. lol

  2. Actually, Anonymous, you need a new career of naming everyone else's businesses! [Since some of us are awful with titles, you know.]

  3. Lol. Now that would be fun...but you don't seem to have that trouble. I love your book titles!

    Being a person who compulsively thinks up names for anything I wish existed, though, I HAVE thought of a title for your next book...

    Outside, The Neighbors Are Laughing

    Your books are so funny and uplifting. :) Thanks for the gift of cheer!

  4. I have so many dreams. I just need my children to magically behave themselves. :-) I'd love to start a foundation that matches 3rd-world kids with musical instruments and training...

  5. I am pass the age of dreaming, so I just live each day to the fullest.

  6. I love "anonymous's" creative names and titles! The one for your next book was especially amusing!

  7. oooh, I'm the biggest dreamer ever! so I have lots of 'if I coulds.' Actually I already started one of my if I coulds with a friend. We started a business designing denim skirts and then had lots of them made by a place in California. Now we're just trying to sell them. But my really big if I could would be to someday open a sewing factory in Haiti that would work with the missionaries down there. It would give the Haitians work and would provide Mennonite ladies with nice long denim skirts.

  8. If I could I would write a book. There are so many interesting, read quirky people out there that should be woven into a story! Somehow that would be risky I believe though. Mary

  9. Dorcas Byler12/06/2011 3:25 PM

    A store that is called "The Frugal Family" and sell things like cloth diapers, bent and dent stuff, and maybe second hand or repurposed stuff.
    Hubby likes bells and whistles. He wants to have a store called Bells and Whistles. I don't what we would sell besides bells and whistles.
    These are just a few of our dreams.

  10. If I could I would love to be a pastor, help people in the third world economically, and probably do some preaching and teaching in North American Mennonite churches to encourage people to live for God and get involved in the world around them.

    Oh, wait, that is what I am doing! How neat is that?


  11. My dream is a bakery named Dailey Bread because our last name is Dailey. It may come to pass here in our new town because it is seriously lacking in any sort of restaurant.

  12. I love everyone's ideas!
    Merle, I think that's great that you're doing exactly what you'd like to do!
    Cara, love the Dailey Bread idea.
    And Dorcas B, let me know if you ever open Bells and Whistles. My boys would love to shop there I'm sure.

  13. O I will be your first customer for the Fabric Exchange. I have plenty of very nice yardage that is just sitting because it does not fill my current needs. The hope of finding some vintage and more that most everyone else thinks is to dud makes me smile!

    Hey, why couldn't we put together a pop-up Fabric Exchange? Call me. I've got a brilliant idea! :)